I am not in the habit of picking up hitchhikers. Maybe it was okay to do it many, many, MANY moons ago. But times have changed and one can never be too careful, even in small towns.
Maybe I should alter my statement to “I never pick up hitchhikers on purpose”. I mean, you might remember this incident when I gave a rain spider a lift to work – my work. Not so long ago I had an entertaining drive back from work when another one caught a lift on the bonnet of my car. Oh, I forgot to tell you about that?!
I was working late one night. Nothing weird and wonderful about that. My car was parked under a tree. It was really dark out already when I got in and started my drive home. The street lights were giving off a comforting glow. I always breathe easier with that extra bit of help to light my way. So there I was, giving a sigh of relief that the day was over when all of a sudden, as I passed under a street light, something caught my attention. On the car’s bonnet, passenger side, I saw something that looked like a twig close to the wiper. I thought nothing of it since, you know, it is quite normal for leaves and such to fall from trees. And my car was parked under one.
When I passed the next light this twig was starting to change position. I was only cruising through the quiet town streets so that seemed a little strange. The twig was still moving and my tired brain was trying to figure out how that is possible when there is no wind outside – natural or generated by my (not) speeding car. I kept glancing at this silly twig. In the glow from an upcoming street light my next glance caught these tiny red glowing dots. My heart jumped. Was I seeing things? When I reached the street light I slowed down to an almost stop just to make sure my mind wasn’t playing tricks on me.
It wasn’t! A big old rain spider was glaring at me through the wind shield, probably wondering why I dared to disturb it. I felt for the guy (or gal) but I was in no mood to try and get it off my car – especially in the dark. And it was likely that it would fall off anyway at some stage on the open road. It was definitely in for an adventure. I decided to drive slower than the posted speed limit. I wasn’t sure what the spider would do if it got more startled and I didn’t want to have it come in through the vents and surprising me inside the car!
As we drove along, my hitchhiker and I, I kept an eye on it. A few kilometres outside town things got even more interesting. I noticed that it was doing some form of acrobatics. It would lift one leg in the air, keep it there for about a minute and then swap with one of its other legs. Hah! This was some ingenious spider! It was obviously trying to balance itself as the wind speed has changed due to the faster speed at which I was driving. After about ten minutes I had to slow down to take a turn. Mr Spider decided it was time to make a move and started running along the bonnet to the driver’s side. That’s when I lost all feeling of good will and charged the last kilometre home. I was NOT having that spider visit me inside the car when I couldn’t see it!
Later, after a bit of rest I realized something. When you drive for a while the engine gets hot enough to warm the bonnet. So was Mr Spider actually performing some acrobatic feat or was it just trying to keep its “feet” from burning?
I never suspected that my days of being a creature-taxi is not yet over. Last weekend I went for lunch at my parents and parked under a tree…
You thought this was another spider story, didn’t you?! You can breathe. I haven’t got any more exciting spider stories right now.
Since moving to J-bay I haven’t encountered any reptiles or lizards. Imagine my surprise when I got to my car and found no less than two geckos on its roof! They are shy little creatures. And of course – I didn’t have my camera with me. Sigh. I tried to take a couple of shots with my cellphone but it’s not the same, especially in shade. I chased the poor things all over my car, trying to find a good shot. One disappeared at the back of the car and the other ended up on the bonnet. Giving up I drove home. Bonnet-gecko was staying put until I took a turn and I assumed that it fell off.
At home I decided to check if it wasn’t just hiding somewhere. Hey, stranger things have happened! And what do you know – Bonnet-gecko actually survived the short drive!
Of course, I had to check if Boot-gecko made the trip as well. Surprise – surprise! 🙂
I didn’t mind giving these guys a lift. They’re not scary at all!